Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Music Machine: 'Talk Talk' (1966)



The Music Machine, with Sean Bonniwell in the middle


The Music Machine: 'Talk Talk' @ Where The Action Is, 1966

I just got The Music Machine's 2-CD compilation The Ultimate Turn-On (Ace Records, 2006), collecting together all the works of the band's original line-up; with the 1966 album Turn On (both as mono and stereo versions), all singles and some rehearsal tapes, demos and alternate takes.

The Music Machine, headed by Sean Bonniwell, was one of the most intriguing fuzz guitar-wielding "garage"-type bands coming into prominence in that golden year of 1966 when psychedelic music was still raw and relentless, having not yet decayed into boring, meandering, endless blues jams of San Francisco bands or boring, meandering, endless pseudo-classical jams of progressive rock acts. The biggest Music Machine hit was the fierce 'Talk Talk', truly punk rock, only about ten years before Johnny Rotten and his foul-mouthed compadres made British TV watchers spill their evening teas. Well, for me, the original "punk" of the ca. '64-'67 garage/"freakbeat" bands is always far more inspiring than the more nihilistic late 70s style, born under much bleaker, more cynical and disillusioned circumstances of the latter decade.

The Music Machine were forerunners in other ways, too. Preceding also gothic rock by some fifteen years, the band were uniformly dressed in black, wearing black gloves too (though curiously only in the right hand for each member), and even dyeing their moppish "beat" haircuts black. This sinister look must have been quite a sight to see among all the colourful groups of the day when hippie style, with its often-garish "day-glo" colours, was already emerging in the underground.

Some similarly gloomy overtones were also reflected in the band's music: the best psychedelic garage, more than flowers and mellow peace feelings of the hippies, always verged on the raw, gloomy feel of existential angst and even bad trip psychotic breakdown. With some extra luck and less music business shortcomings than eventually befell them, The Music Machine -- with Sean Bonniwell as their charismatic but enigmatic frontman with growling vocals and dark lyrics like Jim Morrison had, though admittedly with less "poetic" pretensions -- might finally have reached the same magnitude as The Doors did. If only...





  • Listen to The Music Machine @ MySpace
  • The Official Bonniwell Music Machine Site
  • The Music Machine @ Wikipedia


    The Music Machine: 'Talk Talk'

    I got me a complication
    And it's an only child
    Concernin' my reputation
    As something more than wild
    I know it serves me right
    But I can't sleep at night
    Have to hide my face
    Or go some other play-ay-ay-ay-ay-ace

    I won't cry out for justice
    Admit that I was wrong
    I'll stay in hibernation
    'Til the talk subsides to gone
    My social life's a dud
    My name is really mud
    I'm up to here in lies
    Guess I'm down to size
    To size

    Can't seem to talk about
    The things that bother me
    Seems to be
    What everybody has
    Against me
    Oh, oh, all right

    Here's the situation
    And how it really stands
    I'm out of circulation
    I've all but washed my hands
    My social life's a dud
    My name is really mud
    I'm up to here in lies
    Guess I'm down to size
    To size

    Talk talk Talk talk Talk talk Talk talk
  •